'Piano Man' helpline flooded with calls
A helpline set up to identify a mystery man who stunned carers by giving a virtuoso piano performance has been inundated with calls.
The man has not uttered a word since police picked him up walking aimlessly on the streets of Sheerness, Kent, dressed in a dripping wet suit and tie.
All efforts to communicate with the shy and agitated man, aged in his 20s or early 30s, have failed, leaving experts baffled as to his identity and where he is from.
Staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital gave him a pen and paper in the hope he might write his name or even draw his country's flag.
Instead the patient, dubbed the Piano Man, drew highly detailed pictures of a grand piano, showing not only the keys but also the intricate inner workings of the instrument.
His social worker, Michael Camp, showed him a piano in the hospital chapel and to his amazement the man delivered a stunning, two-hour performance of classical playing.
Since then, the man has even written music, which an independent music teacher has verified as genuine manuscript, yet he remains mute.
Mr Camp, who is based at the accident and emergency unit of the Medway Maritime Hospital, said today: "The Missing Persons Helpline has been inundated with calls. It's a fantastic response.
"We have had one definite lead, but I haven't had time to follow it up yet."
Mr Camp said someone had called local police and given the name and address of who they believe the 'Piano Man' may be.
The case has drawn comparisons with the Oscar-winning 1996 movie Shine, which tells the moving story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.
Several theories as to who the man is, and where he is from, have been investigated by Mr Camp.
It was initially thought he may have been to a local funeral when spotted on the evening of April 7 in the port town of Sheerness, but inquiries proved he had not been to any services in the vicinity.
Then interpreters from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania were brought in to see if he was from Eastern Europe, and possibly an asylum seeker, but no one could get through to the man, who is tall and thin.
Mr Camp said: "We looked into the possibility he was an asylum seeker but what has he got to gain? He has had ample opportunity to walk out of our establishments and he has chosen not to."
The man is now being held in a secure mental health unit in north Kent, which has no piano, until a full assessment has been carried out. It is possible he may be deemed fit to live in the community but Mr Camp is unsure.
"There is no doubt that this man is extremely distressed and depressed. He has started crying over the last week or so. It may be that some sort of trauma has made him like this."
Mr Camp made an urgent appeal for anyone who knows the man to contact the National Missing Persons Helpline, which has launched its own appeal, on 0500 700 700.Medio:
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Lunes 23 de mayo de 2005Notas:
©2005 Associated Newspapers LtdID: